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New Unit Plan: Immigration: The Making of America

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Published on Fri, 05/26/2017

Farewell to home--emigrants bound for England and America--on steamer at Göteborg, Sweden. c1905.


The following unit plan created by Sanford Roth, a veteran classroom, reading, and special education teacher, features an extensive number of education tools and strategies for reaching students from a variety of backgrounds and needs. The focus of the unit involves highlighting both common and unique immigrant patterns and experiences. Students will learn about how immigrant groups came to the United States, the sequence and overlap of immigrant movements, and express their findings in oral and written form.

The unit begins with an interactive skit performed by students. Using a Double Bubble organizer, students will compare and contrast two immigrant experiences to outline similarities and differences. Students will continue with activities including a read aloud and flowmap leading up to using a Quadrant Analysis Tool to analyze immigration images. Ultimately, students are asked to respond to a RAFT Writing Prompt to create a scenario about the immigrant experience.

Throughout the unit students will trace immigration experiences around the world by using a world map to pinpoint locations discussed in each activity and a timeline to develop a chronological understanding of immigration. The unit plan includes tools such as pre, formative, and summative assessments, an extensive primary source set with annotations, and recommendations for differentiating instruction including a Universal Design for Learning Chart.

The Universal Design for Learning approach creates flexible learning environments where varied learning styles and differences can be accommodated. View more details, and download or access the primary source set online. 

Throughout 2017, Emerging America will provide primary source based professional development in Greenfield, Massachusetts on August 1 and 2 and Kansas in October. Emerging America offers two courses specifically geared towards diverse learners and English Language Learners as part of a collection of professional development workshops entitled “Accessing Inquiry”. Each Accessing Inquiry workshop focuses on the use of primary source materials to encourage inquiry based learning.

If you are interested in scheduling a Accessing Inquiry course in your state please contact   Emerging America brings this lesson to you thanks to the outstanding primary sources and materials provided by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Aligned to the Common Core, National, and State History Standards. Emerging America serves as a moderator of the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources TPS Network group for English Language Learners. Educators can access valuable resources and discussion threads within the forum.

To become a TPS Network member and gain access to the Teaching English Language Learners member group please click here.

Karen Albano

former History eNews Editor, Emerging America
Karen Albano worked with Emerging America from 2015-2020, contributing to many facets of the program including developing curriculum, improving the accessibility of the website to educators, overseeing social media outreach, and editing the History eNews.